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Review: "The Color of Light"

By Ellis Vener

“The Color of Light”201212we_coloroflight.jpg
By Arthur Meyerson
Published by Arthur Meyerson Editions, 2012

(Disclosure: The reviewer is acquainted and friendly with both Meyerson and the book's designer.)

Arthur Meyerson’s "The Color of Light” is an inspiring book that fits comfortably in your lap and invites you to enjoy, contemplate, and share the passion and warmth of the photographer’s personal work. Not only are the photographs beautiful, but the book itself is well crafted with skill and expertise applied to design, typography, printing, image selection, and flow. The images are framed by clean white space, presented as if each page is a print in a portfolio. All this is in service to Meyerson’s vision that endless photographic possibilities and beauty surround us.

While Meyerson has long been a successful commercial photographer, “The Color of Light” collects photos he made for himself. There are no fancy lighting or camera techniques, no Photoshop alchemy. What you see is the result of light, space, timing, and color. But more than aesthetics, there’s his good humor. His work is imbued with the unleashed enthusiasm of a kid playing with a camera and all of the formal elements of photography to see what might result.

Many of the photographs embrace a sense of visual humor. In one, a giraffe’s neck divides a cloudless blue sky. The contrast of color and texture and the composition’s symmetry are interesting, but it would be just an academic exercise without those ears at the top of the frame. His “Motor Scooter Rental, Victoria 2009” shows the photographer’s unique observational wit in a way that puts a smile on my face. A vibrant green living cactus frames a near monochromatic mural of cattle on a high desert range. The book pairs of a shot of cattle branding on a Texas ranch with a gigantic Marlboro Man advertisement looming over the Hong Kong cityscape as if he’s peering into tiny little windows.

Meyerson approaches people with sensitivity and sweetness that extends to the viewer as well. A girl in Italy laughs, spied through out-of-focus racks of postcards; with a face painted bright red, an elderly person gazes intently, looking weary; Japanese schoolgirls line up at a railing, all with their backs to the camera save for one girl laughing. In one image a child scales the granite plinth at the base of the Statue of Liberty, the gesture of his body against the stone expressing freedom in a way no monument can.

I could easily go on, but I’ll stop here and simply say that you should buy this book.